The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was at the Equality Court of South Africa today, located at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday 20th January 2015, concerning a case it has lodged against Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges. Ms Bridges is accused of hosting commentary on her Facebook page that constitutes hate speech in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000 (Equality Act). Thecourt proceedings took the form of a directions hearing, to decide the procedure in the case. Brigit Rubinstein, a Director in Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s Dispute Resolution practice, is representing the SAHRC in this matter.
Rubinstein noted on Tuesday 20th January that the Court dismissed Bridge's submissions that the matter should be heard in Pretoria and found that the Equality Court in Cape Town did indeed have jurisdiction to deal with the matter and would in fact hear the case on 20 April this year.
"Ms Bridges' attorney seemed to suggest that Ms Bridges may not align herself with some of the racist and deeply offensive posts attached to the SAHRC's papers, many of which were read out in open court. To this extent, the SAHRC openly invited Ms Bridges to explore resolving the matter by publicly distancing herself from those posts and removing the comments on her facebook page she concedes may constitute racist hate speech," said Rubinstein.
The parties have been called upon to appear before Judge Desai again in Chambers on 2 March 2015 to indicate what witnesses will be called to testify in the matter.